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National Radio Midday Bulletin

Cannabis In Schools - Tvnz Dividend Down - Oil Prices - Govt A Bully - Saw Milling Legal Action - Snake Two Found - Dairy Company Merger - Court Tobacco Judgement - Council An Embarrasment - Apprentiship Schemes - Attack Connected - Backpack Search - Underpaid Workers - Pope’s Plea - Soldiers Disciplined

CANNABIS IN SCHOOLS: The principals of five colleges in the Nelson region will join together to head off drug problems at their schools. A bumper marijuana crop in the region has made cannabis more accessible to young people.

TVNZ DIVIDEND DOWN: Television New Zealand says it’s half yearly dividend has been sharply reduced after settling debts with former TV1 news reader John Hawkesby. A further $6.8 million invested in a digital venture also had to be written off.

OIL PRICES: Oil companies say they have nothing to fear of Jim Anderton’s letter to the Commerce Commission about oil price fixing. International crude prices have dropped in recent days, however oil companies have followed the move downwards.

GOVT A BULLY: The former Timberlands manager Mr Kit Richards has said the Government has acted like “a school yard bully” in having his contract terminated. Mr Richards resigned from Timberlands in January after the Government accused him of guerrilla warfare against the Government.

SAW MILLING LEGAL ACTION: Saw milling companies challenging the legality of the Government’s ban in logging West Coast Beech, have told the High Court, Timberlands share-holding Ministers did not properly consult about the social impact of the ban.

SNAKE TWO FOUND: MAF quarantine officers should know later this afternoon if a snake found in a Lytleton port container was poisonous. The snake is the second snake found in New Zealand in seven days.

DAIRY COMPANY MERGER: The country’s two big dairy companies have been told they have until the end of this week to reach an agreement to form a mega merger.

COURT TOBACCO JUDGEMENT: The United States supreme court has ruled that the Federal Government does not have the legal authority to regulate tobacco as a drug.

COUNCIL AN EMBARRESMENT: A Rodney district rate payers group says the situation at the local council was beyond repair. Yesterday the Mayor and five councillors resigned saying the council could no longer function properly.

APPRENTISHIP SCHEMES: The organisation responsible for training plumbers says a lack of data makes it difficult to fully assess whether the country is facing a skills shortage. The Government has launched a new apprenticeship scheme which it says will help tackle the issue of such shortages

ATTACK CONNECTED: Police in Auckland fear a weekend attack on a woman in a central park is connected to four other incidents with sexual overtones.

BACKPACK SEARCH: Wellington police investigating the likely killing of a university student are now hunting for a distinctive backpack he was wearing the day he disappeared.

UNDERPAID WORKERS: The principle social worker of Child, Youth and Family Services, Mike Doolan, has told a select committee that social workers are undervalued and underpaid.

POPE’S PLEA: Pope John Paul II has called for an end to all prejudice between Christians and Jews at the beginning of his ground-breaking visit to the Holy Land.

SOLDIERS DISCIPLINED: Five US soldiers in the same battalion as a soldier charged with raping and murdering an 11-year-old ethnic Albanian girl have been disciplined for using excessive force against Kosovo civilians.

MIGRANT DOORS: The United Nations predicts rich industrialised countries will have to open their doors to immigrants in future because of demographic needs.

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